Written by Paul Wojciak Tuesday, 27 October 2015 16:27
The NYCROSS series makes the Wicked Creepy Cyclocross race in North Bennington, Vermont a regular stop. This year the leaves were in peak color across the region. My drive up and back along the Taconic State Parkway and US 22 was marvelous. Do the colors seem brighter this year to you too?
Willow Park is the setting for the race and the course has a nice mix of technical features, power sections, and turns, turns, turns. The surface was moist and again my Clement PDX tires proved ideal.
I arrived early to the venue with plenty of time for pre race necessaries. I met fellow Bikeman racer Christian Baks who was warming up for his race. He said the course was very much like the year before. The surface conditions were even similar. Good. I liked last year's race. I was happy to get two pre ride laps to really start to dial in my preferred lines. The tires were hooking up and I was feeling good. I knew that the start would be important, as it is in all cyclocross races, so I scoped out the short prolog section. Hmm, we'll be flying pell-mell around that first turn onto the course.
I got a front row call up for my Masters 45+ field. The whistle sounded and we were hammering down the grassy run into that first turn onto the pavement. I heard wheels make contact behind me and saw in my right peripheral a rider head tangential to the course into the jing weeds. His shout was lost as we roared up the paved hill. I worked into eighth position or so as we entered the first sets of turns. The field was really in a line in front of me with no one trying any moves. This soon changed with one or two riders making their moves. As we moved through the lap I managed to pick off a couple of riders as well. We roared up the hill again...
I was feeling good. I kept working on being smooth in the turns, sprinting the straights, and going fast over the obstacles. After a couple more laps I was in second place and could see the leader Tom Horrocks about 15 seconds in front of me. I had a rider following hard on my wheel though. We came into the bell lap and I attacked up the hill and at multiple other points but was unable to shake the rider. Into the run up at the very end, I unwittingly left a hole on my left which was promptly filled by my shadow. He scampered up the hill and scooted through the finish three seconds ahead of me. Still, I took third for my first Cyclocross podium in the Bikeman Kit!
I felt great. A nice little cool down and post race chats with the competitors. Posted results confirmed my third place and I got a nice bag of Pierce Brothers coffee which my wife will enjoy. The ride back to Poughkeepsie, NY was excellent with the sun appearing along the way to really light up the forested hillsides. What's not to love about this time of year?
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